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Physician Assistant Program Honors Class of 2017

The College of Health Profession’s (CHP) Physician Assistant program honored the Class of 2017, as well as exemplary faculty, during an August valediction ceremony.

CHP Dean Douglas L. Murphy, Ph.D., congratulated the students on their success during their 28 months at UAMS. He urged them to remember that they are well prepared for their careers as physician assistants. He also encouraged them to “remember that patients and families are essential participants and collaborators in the care you provide.”

“It is true that you know much more about medicine than most other people will ever know,” he said. “It is true, also, that patients and families know much more about their lives, their aspirations and what they hold dear than you or anyone else will ever know. I hope that you will continue to appreciate both your expertise and their expertise as necessary elements of your partnership with them.”

He also urged the graduates to see the UAMS faculty as a resource that can be called upon when advice or guidance is needed.

Four student awards were presented during the ceremony.

The Academic Excellence Award, which goes to the student with the highest cumulative GPA from both the didactic and clinical phases of the program, went to Anne Brown and Samantha Gray, both of whom maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout the program.

The Humanitarian Spirit Award, which is awarded to the student who places others before self and generously volunteers for program activities, went to Ryland Walt.

The Broad Spectrum Award goes to the individual who is the best all-around student in the program. Anne Brown was the recipient of the award.

Finally, the Faculty Gold Key Award, which is given to the student who is exemplary of a PA professional, was given to Wesley Wenzel, the Class of 2017 president.

Three educators were also honored during the ceremony.

Alicia Leverette, PA-C, was named the Clinical Preceptor of the Year for her exceptional work with the students.

Chris Davis, PA-C, was recognized as the Didactic Instructor of the Year (Guest Lecturer) for his engaging classroom lectures that were invaluable to the students. Davis was also the keynote speaker for the ceremony.

Edward Williams, PA-C, chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies and director of the Physician Assistant program, was recognized as the Faculty Teacher of the Year for being driven, passionate and dedicated to the success of his students.

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The Class of 2017 is:

  • Layne Britton — Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Alli Brooks — Bentonville
  • Anne Browne — Havertown, Pennsylvania
  • Kyla Byers — Springfield, Missouri
  • Philip Childers — Smackover, Arkansas
  • Jesse Clark — Kirby, Arkansas
  • Catherine Chumbley — Athens, Alabama
  • Nirja Desai — Clarksville
  • Courteney Evans — Ridgeland, Mississippi
  • Raven Falls — Texarkana
  • Byron Fulk — Bridgewater, Virginia
  • Jennifer Goodwin — Rogers
  • Samantha Gray — North Little Rock
  • Brittany Healey — Lindale, Texas
  • Haley Hobson — Peaster, Texas
  • Cassidy Jacobs — Fort Smith
  • Tabitha Jaggers — Sheridan
  • Ashley Lunsford — Dennison, Texas
  • Tyler McAnally — Melbourne, Arkansas
  • John McCormick — Fayetteville
  • Mallory Melby — Hot Springs
  • Rachel Neal — The Woodlands, Texas
  • Aaron Parsley — Rector1 Arkansas
  • Mira Patel — Amory, Mississippi
  • Amy Pintado — Greenwood
  • Emily Rideout — Fort Smith
  • Daniel Ring — Cabot
  • Kenneth Spencer — Texarkana
  • Rachele Struthers — Magnolia, Texas
  • Sommer Walker — Hope
  • Ryland Walt — Altheimer, Arkansas
  • Wesley Wenzel — Portland, Oregon
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